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The Future of Digital Advertising: Math + Magic

January 13, 2012 by Kevin Michael Gray

Today's featured article comes from AdAge.com and suggests that the 'Future of Advertising Agencies' can be found in platforms that utilize math (and logic).  What are your thoughts?  We would love to hear from you.  Tweet about it @futureagencies #futureofagencies Read the article below:



Media departments and the work they produce tend to be organized around channels -- in other words, around what the media is.
 
I think the time has come to change that orientation, and instead organize around what our people do. And when it comes to digital media, we're moving very quickly toward a world in which there are only two things people need to do: math, and magic.
 
By "math" I'm referring broadly to what our agency calls platform media: the ability to buy placements using technology platforms, usually in real-time, one impression at a time. By "magic," I mean a creative approach to media that leads to things so fun and/or interesting that people are actually drawn to them.
 
Math is about dispersion: the functional delivery of impressions to people who haven't asked for them, but whom we hope to influence. Magic is about attraction: creating impressions so perfect that people choose to spend time with them, and maybe even pass them on.
 

First, the math

In the not too distant future most digital media is going to bought and managed through platforms. Remember the great Apple "Mac vs. PC" ads that ran on the home page of the New York Times a few years back, the synched units where Justin Long and John Hodgman interacted with each other across the screen? Well, unless you are doing an execution like that, the buy will be handled through a platform. Or at least, it will be possible to do so for those who are motivated to move to a new working model.
 
When people think about exchange-traded media and DSPs, the reflexive response is that these technologies are useful, but only as it relates to direct-response efforts.
 
It's a classic case of missing the forest for the trees. The forest: the infrastructure that enables digital advertising has been rebuilt, and we now have pipes connecting buyers and sellers directly. What's flowing through the pipes at the moment may primarily be unsold placements, but there's no reason that it has to be limited to that inventory.
 
Put another way: anything that can be transacted programmatically will be. And everything other than custom placements can be. We're seeing this begin to take shape already in the rise of private marketplaces, where publishers can transact directly with an approved set of advertisers.
 
The move to platforms changes the entire notion of digital media planning.

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